A reconfigurable microfluidics platform for microparticle separation and fluid mixing
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- A reconfigurable microfluidics platform for microparticle separation and fluid mixing
- Hahn, Young Ki; Hong, Daehyup; Kang, Joo H.; Choi, Sungyoung
- Issue Date
- MDPI AG
- MICROMACHINES, v.7, no.8, pp.139
- Microfluidics is an engineering tool used to control and manipulate fluid flows, with practical applications for lab-on-a-chip, point-of-care testing, and biological/medical research. However, microfluidic platforms typically lack the ability to create a fluidic duct, having an arbitrary flow path, and to change the path as needed without additional design and fabrication processes. To address this challenge, we present a simple yet effective approach for facile, on-demand reconfiguration of microfluidic channels using flexible polymer tubing. The tubing provides both a well-defined, cross-sectional geometry to allow reliable fluidic operation and excellent flexibility to achieve a high degree of freedom for reconfiguration of flow pathways. We demonstrate that microparticle separation and fluid mixing can be successfully implemented by reconfiguring the shape of the tubing. The tubing is coiled around a 3D-printed barrel to make a spiral microchannel with a constant curvature for inertial separation of microparticles. Multiple knots are also made in the tubing to create a highly tortuous flow path, which induces transverse secondary flows, Dean flows, and, thus, enhances the mixing of fluids. The reconfigurable microfluidics approach, with advantages including low-cost, simplicity, and ease of use, can serve as a promising complement to conventional microfabrication methods, which require complex fabrication processes with expensive equipment and lack a degree of freedom for reconfiguration.
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